"The macro-regional strategies have gained political visibility and generated very high expectations. However, without joint political impetus at national and regional level, the commitment of players on the ground, while very valuable, will not be enough to ensure the MRS survive."


New document "Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of EU macro-regional strategies" highlights the recent development, progress and challenges of the four EU macro-regional strategies.


Some remarks about the EUSBSR

A more detailed analysis of the each macro-regional strategy can be found in an accompanying report Staff Working Document. The document points out the positive progress and concrete results through projects that the EUSBSR brings to the Baltic Sea region. The EUSBSR has also been a forerunner in many ways, such as in taking actions to fight against marine litter.

In addition, it addresses the actions taken to improve monitoring, communications and civil society participation in the Strategy.

The document lists also some challenges the EUSBSR is facing: lack of political commitment, too broad scope of the Strategy, time consuming governance, funding, and communications to be mainly in English. These challenges should be overcome to utilise the full potential of the EUSBSR.


EUSBSR's steps forward

According to the document, EUSBSR should focus on the following points when taking the next steps forward:

  • Strengthen the ownership and commitment of line ministers by emphasizing the potential benefits, which the EUSBSR may bring;
  • Use the programming exercise of upcoming 2021-2027 period to embed the selected EUSBSR priorities in mainstream programmes as cooperation elements (in the proposed regulations, cooperation is introduced as a horizontal objective for Cohesion Policy). This coincides with the update of the Action Plan and, with coordinated efforts, there is a window of opportunity that needs to be seized;
  • Reinforce the alignment of the EUSBSR with all relevant funding instruments;
  • Use the revision of the Action Plan to choose and select few core priorities based on identified macro-regional trends and challenges which are seen as the most relevant and for which EU and national funds should be mobilised;
  • Continue the efforts in communication to increase the visibility and the results of the Strategy;
  • Continue to strengthen monitoring and evaluation to better link the activities and objectives of the EUSBSR to the overall development in the region, but also better monitor the progress of the different policy areas and horizontal actions;
  • Continue to foster cooperation between EU and non-EU countries around the Baltic Sea Region.
  • Strengthen the capacity of the actors involved in implementing the EUSBSR by developing the role of the steering committees and the flagship concept further.